Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 3 - 2018

Book 3: The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman - 382 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
In this vivid portrait of the new business world, Thomas L. Friedman shows how technology, capital, and information are transforming the global marketplace, leveling old geographic and geopolitical boundaries. With bold reporting and acute analysis, Friedman dramatizes the conflict between globalizing forces and local cultures, and he shows why a balance between progress and the preservation of ancient traditions will ensure a better future for all. The Lexus and the Olive Tree is an indispensable look at power and big change in the age of globalization.

I really wanted to rate this book more highly, and my rating does bear in mind that it is a book written 20 years ago, but the last section really got my back up. I assume Friedman is writing to an American audience, which in a way is funny, because it completely misses his own point - that even the literature world is globalised now and when you spend 100 pages telling your country how freaking amazing it is, you literally just perpetuate the very issue you discuss - how good America can be at really pissing off the rest of the world. But I digress.
Given this book was written in the 90s, pre-9/11, GFC etc, he does a pretty impressive job predicting much of globalisation's (and thus the world's) future. He talks about the risk of terrorism, about the risk of financial crises, about the invention of something to keep us connected 24/7 (he calls it Evernet, we call it Wi-fi - an Australian discovery!). His points are valid and nail much of what actually did happen over the past twenty years - the future to Friedman at the time, the past to us now. But then he uses the last 100 pages to talk up America and how integral it is to globalisation. And its not that he's wrong because it is. What he fails to understand is that America isn't actually as pro-globalisation as it might appear - he misses Trump and the strong anti-globalisation sentiment in the States, he misses the fact that America is still much better at pulling down other's trade barriers than it is its own, he misses the fact that America literally caused the GFC because of insufficient regulation. And he misses (though he claims otherwise) America's arrogance, by talking about how good damn awesome they are, and how god damn shit the rest of us are. I love you, America, I really do, but bloody hell, I get so tired of you thinking you’re perfect. I know my country isn't perfect - I'm not blind to its faults - but far out America, you need to invest some of that capital in a mirror!

3 / 50 books. 6% done!

1119 / 15000 pages. 7% done!

Currently reading:
- Mindset – Updated Edition: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential
by Dr. Carol S. Dweck – 288 pages
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
by Michael Wolff - 310 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- Strayapedia
by Dominic Knight - 232 pages
Tags: economics, politics

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